Louisville’s Andrew Farrell, the number one draft pick in the most recent Major League Soccer Superdraft, takes the field for the first time as a professional this Saturday when his New England Revolution plays the Chicago Fire. Before the draft, Farrell led the University of Louisville to the quarterfinals of the NCAA tournament before the team bowed out to second seeded Maryland.
Farrell was so integral to Louisville’s soccer success that New England knew they wanted him. So much so that they traded with Toronto F. C. to get him. And the Revolution needs him. They spent time at the top of the heap before, going to the MLS cup championship from 2005 to 2007. They haven’t been back since, being eliminated from the playoffs in the first round in the next two years. After that, they haven’t been back to the postseason.
Though Louisville soccer fans would like to think he created his skills here, it was when his family moved to Peru that he learned how to play the game. When they came back to Louisville, Farrell took what he learned in South America to Atherton High School, showing that he was the best young player in the state and using his combined size and skill to make himself stand apart.
That’s when the University of Louisville started looking at him. Ken Lolla has put together one of the premiere college programs in the country and Farrell fit right in. Lolla took his athleticism and his soccer knowledge and put the entire package together. It helps that the Cardinals run a pro-style program.
In that environment, Farrell was last season’s Big East defender of the year and a first team All-American. And as he enters the MLS, he joins other Cardinals in the league including last years best rookies Nick DeLeon and Austin Berry. That’s an impressive resume for Lolla and crew.
As the number one overall pick, the eyes of the football world will be especially trained on Farrell as they are with all top guys. The curiosity comes out as the eternal question, “What makes him so special?”
This Saturday, the rest of the world will see when his foot first makes contact with the ball.
Photo: Shutterstock.com/Rissy Story